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Interest in aquaponics grows daily.

Thousands of people throughout the world debate the various aspects of this wonderful phenomenon on a growing number of discussion forums and there’s hardly a day goes by when a new book, kit or other product doesn’t hit the market.

But there’s an elephant in the room that no-one’s talking about.


In terms of people safety, there are two main risks that attend aquaponics systems…….drowning and electrocution.

Several years ago, I pioneered the use of access barriers in aquaponics systems.

One of the reasons I favour square or rectangular tanks is the ease with which they can be covered to prevent entry by curious toddlers.

Access barriers keep toddlers and pets safe.

Access barriers keep toddlers and pets safe.

While access barriers are more widely used than they used to be, there are still far too many systems that are not adequately secured against entry by small people.

If a tank can’t be covered, it must be placed behind a child-proof fence or locked inside a shed.

Nothing will diminish the positive atmosphere that surrounds aquaponics like media headlines about a drowned child.

While small children are those most at risk of drowning in an aquaponics system, electrocution is rather less selective – it will kill anyone.

Electricity - an excellent servant but a cruel master.

Electricity - an excellent servant but a cruel master.

I have seen hundreds of aquaponics systems and many of them have one thing in common……… a foolish disregard for electrical safety.

I’ve seen extension cords running across thoroughfares where they risk damage from being walked or driven on.  I’ve also seen plugs suspended over fish tanks, or lying near puddles, and  I’m aware of people who have built equipment or performed work that should have been done by a licensed electrician.

Don’t get me wrong.  This is not about you…’s about us.   This post was largely prompted by a self-audit of my own systems that suggested that I needed to lift my own electrical safety game.

A Clipsal Portable RCD Power Outlet is on my shopping list and a commitment to being smarter around electricity was prominent on my New Years’ resolutions list.

Let’s all commit to a better, safer way of doing things in 2010.